SOURCE: The Search Agency

March 27, 2014 08:00 ET

Top 100 Web Retailers Slow to Adopt Responsive Design; Study Also Reveals Lagging Load Times

Nasty Gal, eBags and Zazzle Come Out on Top of Report From The Search Agency

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 27, 2014) -  The Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today released findings from the latest edition of its Mobile Experience Scorecard: Web-Only Retailers, which found that the average time the top 100 web-only retailer sites took to load was 2.99 seconds, almost two seconds longer than Google's recommended load time. Also recommended by Google is Responsive Web Design (RWD) for mobile sites, yet only nine out of the 100 sites in the study used RWD to improve mobile experiences. For the report, The Search Agency's team of mobile experts determined which of top the 100 web-only retailers were most closely aligned with established mobile marketing best practices -- including those set by Google -- in addition to analyzing other functionality around search, shopping cart buttons, social media buttons or links, and the retailers' mobile experiences. 

"Our previous mobile experience report uncovered some surprising results among some of the world's biggest brands, and given that web-only retailers have no brick-and-mortar stores, we expected these organizations to be leading the pack when adopting mobile best practices," said Delia Perez, SVP account delivery and strategy at The Search Agency. "With Google predicting that mobile traffic will catch up with desktop searches this year, mobile retailers should ensure they're poised to take advantage of this revenue opportunity."

The Mobile Experience Scorecard: Web-Only Retailers report leveraged Internet Retailer's Top 500 list of e-commerce sites and exclusively selected the top 100 web-only sites, excluding companies with subscription-based business models. The Search Agency calculated a total score out of a possible five points -- zero being the lowest and a score of five being the highest possible -- for each of the web-only retailer's mobile sites. Analysis was based on seven factors, including load time, site format, search box, shopping cart, sign in, social media buttons and app presence. The scores were then averaged according to The Search Agency's weighting factors -- and the on-site customer experience -- to arrive at the total score for each retailer in the study.

Notable study results include:

  • Although Google recommends that mobile sites load in under one second, the top 100 web-only retailer sites took an average of 2.99 seconds to load.
    • Google also recommends sites use RWD, but only nine out of the 100 sites feature RWD; 59 offer dedicated mobile sites and the remaining 32 offer the desktop version of their sites to mobile users.
  • The majority -- 88 of the 100 sites -- displayed intent-based shopping features, such as a shopping cart (90), account sign in (82), social media buttons or links (55) and an app download (29).
  • Female-oriented sites seem to be doing it right. Sites that were better optimized for mobile tended to skew more toward a female audience. Results included:
    • 75% of the 20 highest scoring sites on the scorecard skewed more toward females, while 75% of the 20 lowest scoring sites skewed toward males.
    • 78% of the sites that used responsive web design skewed female, and 66% of the sites that used dedicated mobile skewed female.
    • 65% of the sites that used desktop site skewed male.
  • The average score of the 100 web-only retailers was 2.808 out of a possible five.

The winners of the scorecard were:

  • Nasty Gal, eBags and Zazzle ranked one, two and three on the Scorecard.
  • Nasty Gal's high score of 4.68 was almost four points higher than #100 on the list,, with a score of 0.805.
  • The three industries that scored the highest were jewelry, health/beauty, and apparel.

To see the full rankings including methodology or to download a copy of the report, please visit:

About The Search Agency
The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients' integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing search marketing firms -- named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte's 2011 Technology Fast 500™. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, London, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Stephanie Cooley
    Dotted Line Communications for The Search Agency
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